December 20, 2012 by caitlinvaclark
Last night was a big night in our household for college basketball. I’m sure you are all rushing to ESPN.com to see what game you could possibly have forgotten about. Don’t worry, you didn’t. Thing is, I’m a born and raised Duke Blue Devil. During our years together, including time spent living in Durham, NC, Chris has become quite the Cameron Crazy, himself.
Now I’m not trying to alienate anyone here. I know how strong rivalries can run. Some of you probably hate me for outing my alliance. But the thing is I love some good healthy competition. My best friend in the world is a die-hard Carolina fan, a fact that actually bonded us our freshman year of college. That and being southern fish out of water in upstate New York.
So that was the thing about last night – Duke was playing Cornell (also where Chris and I met). Big game for us. Too bad it didn’t start until midnight, UK time. But who needs sleep? Clearly I was still routing for Duke to maintain their undefeated season. Hey, I was wearing Duke onesies as an infant. Can you blame me for staying loyal? But I was hoping for a good game. And the Cornell boys put up a good fight… for the first half. Then Chris, smart man that he is, went to sleep. I stayed up reading and watching. So I’m a bit of a groggy mess today.
But I have to bounce back, wake up, chug this coffee, and tell you about my favorite holiday soup!
At some point between Christmas and New Years, I like to make a good old honey baked ham. It’s so wonderful to have those spiral slices just waiting in the fridge for the ham-addicts of the house to return for another sliver. But with the size of our fridge and our Christmas cooking trajectory, I don’t know if it’s going to happen in 2012.
The biggest disappointment is that with no ham comes no hambone. And no hambone means no yummy, yummy split pea soup. This soup is one of my favorite things to make for New Years Day. You can get it simmering early in the day and people can just come back for a bowlful when they need a pick-me-up through out the lazy afternoon.
But lucky me, our local Waitrose sells prepackaged ham hock. Not exactly the same but it will do. Obviously, I would recommend simmering this soup with the left over hambone if you have one. You know when you unspiral the ham, you can never quite get the entire piece? Well those remaining bites are the ones that cook into the soup until they fall off and meld with the flavors of the broth and peas. When you finally remove the lid for a taste, it’s a total transformation. Delish.
But in a pinch, ham hock will do. Not the same “ah ha” moment. Ham’s already mixed in, not the surprise ending. But taste-wise it’s on par. And the best part about this dish is it only needs a few ingredients, which you can easily have on hand. And it’s so easy!
Start by sautéing an onion, a carrot, and some garlic. Add a few dried herbs; your ham or hambone, if you are lucky enough to have one.
Add the split peas (I’d never seen the yellow ones either! But that was what they have here. Same awesome taste). Add the broth. And simmer away!
Yellow Split Pea Soup
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried thyme
5 oz. ham hock (or 1 hambone with meat if you are lucky enough to have one!)
2 cups split peas
7 cups chicken broth
Pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot, over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add carrots and garlic and continue to cook for 5 more minutes.
Add the ham hock, thyme, marjoram, and a few cracks of pepper. Mix.
Stir in the split peas and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid. Taste for seasoning, adding more pepper and salt (if necessary). Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Then serve.
*This soup is also great made in advance and reheated up to 2 days later.